What journalists need to get started with Facebook Live

Shaheryar Popalzai discusses what you need to know to get started with Facebook Live. Here at Videoguys we stream live to Facebook weekly and can get you started with all your streaming needs. Telestream's Wirecast Gear is a live streaming production system that is great for basic live event production and streaming. Give us a call at 800-323-2325 with any questions.
Invest in good equipment Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, you don’t want shaky video, bad light or poor audio. Invest in a tripod with a cellphone mount for both indoor and outdoor shoots — you can get a cellphone mount for as low as US$2. If you think you’ll have lots of moving shots, get a stabilizer so you don’t end up with shaky video. Something like the DJI Osmo is a little pricey (US$569 on Amazon) but gets the job done. Audio has so far been one of Facebook Live's weakest points. I would recommend investing in audio equipment that works well for both indoor and outdoor shoots. You can either get a mic that plugs directly into your phone, or an interface for your phone that helps connect more than one mic. Something like the Zoom iQ5 (available for US$69.99) microphone works great for both outdoor and indoor shoots, and will keep you from worrying about needing enough mics for more than one person on camera. In general, if you already have a smartphone and want to start broadcasting with the equipment mentioned above, it’ll cost you around US$640 total. Lights and a basic set for indoor shoots are also helpful. Like bad audio, a dull, colorless video can throw viewers off. Just a pair of studio lights are enough for an indoor shoot. Any generic studio lights will work; just make sure they’re well positioned. If you already have a smartphone and are setting up a studio to do Facebook Live videos, expect to spend as little as US$50 on studio lighting. Consider broadcasting software Software like OBS (which is free) and Wirecast (which starts at US$496 after a free trial) work great if you want to use Facebook Live with a multi-camera setup or if you want to incorporate content like images, video or web streams into your video. Broadcasting software could also be a good investment if you’re reporting on a multi-location event and you want to be able to switch scenes — or dial in a reporter or guest for your live video. Not just for broadcasting Facebook Live is also a great newsgathering tool. You can always head to Facebook’s Live Map during major news events and look for video related to whatever you’re reporting on. One example is the Turkish coup attempt, when there were more than 50 Facebook Live videos being broadcast at the time. Those videos helped give a good on-the-ground perspective.
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